Third Generation Planning Agencies

When city planning agencies were first established, they mainly produced strategies based on academic information. These agencies, which we may call the first-generation planning agencies, emerged as institutions that contribute to the development of the city by making academic information available to decision-makers.

While academic data is a crucial source for designing cities, it is not alone sufficient to design urban areas as living landscapes with complex interactions. Therefore, second-generation planning agencies brought civil society engagement, along with scientific data, to the forefront of city planning. While designing strategies and projects, second-generation agencies started to proactively seek public opinion along with academic information.

The participatory planning of cities made a huge advancement in improving the welfare of citizens in urban environments. Yet, the climate crisis and biodiversity loss have demonstrated that cities’ geographical and social expansions have major constraints. This has made “nature itself” to become a third weight point of designing cities.

As a result, the necessity for third-generation planning organizations arose. This planning approach considers natural ecosystems as an entry point of urban development and seeks for designing cities that are a part of nature. Ultimately, such settlements can be described as Cities With Circular Culture based on four pillars of harmony - harmony with nature, with each other, with the past and with change.

Izmir Planning Agency (IZPA) could be considered a third-generation planning agency that combines academic information, citizen participation and ecosystem data to propose new urban strategies.

This new perspective offers important opportunities to build cities in harmony with nature that act as an integral part of the web of life on earth. IZPA’s strategy lays a roadmap to address the urban paradox of climate crisis - a global crisis caused by urbanization but still needs to be resolved in cities.